Fri, Mar 26, 2004 - Page 1 News List

Blue camp looks to order new election

LEGAL AMENDMENTS The pan-blue alliance hopes its weight in the legislature can be used to change the law retroactively so that a second vote can take place

By Debby Wu  /  STAFF REPORTER

Chinese Nationalist Party caucus whip Liao Feng-te, left, shakes hands with Democratic Progressive Party Legislator Lin Feng-hsi at a Procedure Committee meeting yesterday. The two had had an altercation on Tuesday regarding the election and recall law.

PHOTO: WANG MIN-WEI, TAIPEI TIMES

The pan-blue camp sought yesterday to use its muscle in the legislature to order a new election.

The rival camps in the legislature had agreed to negotiate on amendments to the Presidential and Vice Presidential Election and Recall Law (總統副總統選舉罷免法) to allow for a recount.

But the blue camp introduced into the proposed amendments a "harm article" that states if any candidate in a presidential election is harmed or killed within seven days ahead of the election, the vote should be called off and a re-election held in three to six months of an investigation report being released.

The pan-blue camp said the investigation should be conducted by a special committee formed by the legislature. The legislature would invite experts to join the committee and offer a report to the legislature within two months after the incident occurs, according to the proposal.

Caucuses had reached a consensus that the amendments should be applied retroactively to Saturday's election.

The Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) caucus said it opposed the harm article.

"If that article gets passed, then that means when Vice President Annette Lu (呂秀蓮) hurt her feet on March 16, the election should have been called off," DPP caucus director-general Tsai Huang-liang (蔡煌瑯) said.

"If the pan-blue camp is proposing to pass this article, they might as well add an extra article in the law regulating that [KMT Chairman] Lien Chan (連戰) and [People First Party Chairman] James Soong (宋楚瑜) won the presidential election this year," he said.

Tsai added that, if the controversial article is passed, a party trailing in the polls ahead of an election could harm its own candidates to give it three to six months to regroup.

DPP Legislator Chiu Tai-san (邱太三) said the legislature's formation of an investigation committee would violate the justice system's rights.

The legislature is slated to take up the amendments today after four different versions of the amendments went through an extra session of the Procedure Committee yesterday.

The amendments are unlikely to pass today if inter-party negotiations fail.

The extra session of the Procedure Committee was called yesterday to deal with the "harm article" after KMT caucus whip Liao Feng-te (廖風德) made the request to Legislative Speaker Wang Jin-pyng (王金平).

Four different versions of the amendments are before the committee -- one by the pan-blue caucuses, one by the People First Party caucus, one by the DPP caucus and one by DPP Legislator You Ching (尤清).

All versions propose that when the gap between the two leading candidates in the election is less than 1 percent of the total ballots, a recount may be called.

With the exception of the blue-camp's proposal, the versions state that the request for a recount must be made within seven days of the election.

The PFP version -- unlike the other three versions which say the CEC should take charge of the recount -- states that the recount should be conducted by the judiciary.

The PFP version also states that the CEC cannot announce the winning candidates before the recount is finished.

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